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What are Instream Video Ads & What’s so great about it? |   22 Nov, 2023


Navigating the marketing industry can be daunting with its ever-evolving landscape of acronyms and dynamic definitions. The latest puzzle to unravel? Instream video.

To empower marketers, let’s delve into what are Instream video, highlighting recent updates, the pros and cons, aiding in an informed decision tailored to specific marketing goals and target audiences.

What are Instream Video Ads Anyway?

Historically, these ads play within an existing video stream and can be classified as pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ads.

Pre-Roll Instream Ads

Display before a video starts.

Mid-Roll Instream Ads

Interrupt the viewing experience, often in longer content with a high completion rate due to viewer engagement.

Post-Roll Instream Ads

Appear when a video concludes, offering a better user experience but with lower effectiveness.

Furthermore, instream video ads come in two primary formats: non-skippable and skippable, each with distinct viewer interactions. Non-skippable ads demand the audience’s full attention, playing in entirety before granting access to the desired video content. On the flip side, skippable ads offer viewers the flexibility to bypass the advertisement after a set duration, typically around five seconds.

These ads present advertisers with a valuable opportunity to connect with a diverse audience, engaging them during active video consumption. Striking a delicate balance between conveying the message effectively and respecting the viewer’s experience is crucial for advertisers. This equilibrium ensures a positive reception of the ads, enhancing the overall impact of their marketing efforts.

When it comes to video ads, people tend to find pre-roll ads less annoying than others, according to a study. The research showed that 69% of folks could remember a pre-roll ad, while only 41% could recall a mid-roll ad.

Also Read: Video Contextual Advertising: Everything You Need to Know

Pros of Instream Ads

Captivated Audience:

Leveraging instream ads capitalizes on the fact that viewers are already primed for video content, actively seeking and engaging with it. Whether at the beginning, middle, or end of a video, the audience is comfortably tuned in, with audio on, creating an opportune environment for your message.

Motivated Engagement:

Particularly with non-skippable pre-rolls and mid-rolls, viewers have a compelling reason to stay engaged—they want to return to their initial content. This inherent motivation, coupled with sophisticated retargeting, can enhance their viewing experience and increase the likelihood of exploring your product or service further.

Cons of Instream Ads

Limited Placement Options:

An inherent drawback of instream ads lies in the limited array of platforms available for marketing. While major platforms like YouTube and Facebook are prominent choices, businesses targeting B2B clients or demographics less active on social media may find their options constrained.

Perceived Intrusiveness:

Instream ads are encountered by users who have not necessarily chosen to watch them, potentially rendering them as intrusive or bothersome. The lack of explicit user consent may contribute to a sense of interruption, impacting the overall viewer experience.

More Recent Updates for Advertisers

In the OpenRTB 2.6 specifications from the IAB Tech Lab, a new classification for Instream and other video ads emerged…

  • Instream: Played before, during, or after requested video content, with sound on.
  • Accompanying Content: Pre-, mid-, or post-roll ads within editorial content, playing automatically without sound.
  • No Content/Standalone: Video ads independent of specific content, shown in video players playing only ads.
  • Interstitial: Full-screen video ads on the web and in-app.

Next Steps

Given video’s effectiveness, staying informed is crucial. Adapting to the new classification system is paramount, and Crafters is here to help.

To discover how we can support you in navigating this evolving landscape and achieving your business goals, reach out to us.

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